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Malaysia’s Bank Negara Plans Standards for Mobile Payments

April 16, 2018        
By: Steven Anderson

It’s easy to forget, sometimes, that mobile payments are still a comparatively new technology. Even Apple Pay, which basically kicked the whole process off—though it wasn’t really the first mobile payments system—only got started in late 2014. Mobile payments’ arrival in some countries, therefore, has been a bit limited. Malaysia is one place where the rollout has been a mite limited, and that may be about to change with a new move from Bank Negara.

Bank Negara Malaysia is set to introduce a set of minimum standards for mobile payments, a move that’s designed to make for much greater transparency in the market. It’s also likely to provide an extra note of legitimacy, as customers know that the payments systems available have achieved some certain minimum standard as established by regulatory bodies.

Those looking to provide mobile payments services in Malaysia will be required to provide information on key security features to users, whether these be related to unauthorized transactions or preventing malware. It’s part of a larger program announced by the bank’s governor, Tan Sri Muhammad, to help fuel the country’s overall move to mobile payments.

Muhammad also cited the value of good customer engagement in mobile payments, which would be fueled by the proper use of disclosures, as well as the importance of protecting customers against fraud.  He actually pointed out that security practices and their disclosures are a great way to differentiate in the market, with better security practices drawing more users who believe themselves better protected by those measures.

Security has been the biggest hurdle mobile payments firms have had to cross anywhere, and Muhammad is doing the entire industry in Malaysia a favor by pointing this out. In fact, in this case, regulatory protections might actually be good for mobile payments. Leave aside issues of legitimacy for a minute; the fact that there’s a certain standard that’s publicly promoted might draw users’ interest, believing that there’s actual government protection involved.

Mobile payments security is a major problem, and Malaysia’s efforts might well mollify a lot of concerned consumers worried about getting in. It’s not a bad idea, but only time will tell if it works.

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